Dedicated Georgia Attorneys

How Does My Appeal Get Assigned To A Supreme Court Justice

The Supreme Court has a broad and varied jurisdiction in caseload, and the court internally breaks its matters down into 20 categories, each of which has an alphabetical designation which appears in the case number. A stands for direct appeals, B stands for disciplinary petitions for appointments of special master receiver, C stands for petitions for writ of Ceriorari, D stands for discretionary applications, E stands for death penalty habeas. F stands for domestic relations appeals, rule 34.4 matters after discretionary application granted. G stands for granted certiorari, H stands for Habeas: non-death penalty applications for certificate of probable cause to appeal. I stands for interlocutory applications, O stands for original petitions, M stands for extraordinary motions, O stands for original petitions, P stands for death penalty direct appeals, Q stands for certified's questions, R stands for death penalty interim appellate review, T stands for request for extensions of time other pre-docket matters, U stands for unauthorized practice of law, W stands for execution matters when an execution has been scheduled, X stands for cross appeals, y stands for disciplinary matters, Z stands for fitness board appeals and Judicial qualification commission matters. The largest category numerically is direct appeals(cases within the Supreme Court's original appellate jurisdiction) which are assigned the alphabetical designation a. It may be helpful to follow such an appeal through the process. When an appellate record is delivered to the Supreme Court for docketing, the clerks office checks the form of the record. The checks for, among other things, a copy of the orders from which the appeal is being taken, a copy of the notice of appeal and, if the transcript is included to make sure that the transcript was certified by the court reporter and the trial court clerk. Problems are brought to the attention of the clerk of the trial court and issues resolved. The clerks office creates from the trial court record a list of the parties and counsel. The case is assigned a case number by computer. The case is sent to central staff for review and classification. The classification is the subject matter of the appeal that invokes the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court (title to land; equity, mandamus, etc.) Central staff also conducts a review for jurisdiction and appealability. Staff cannot, however, dismiss or transfer a case. It can merely note jurisdictional issues and write memoranda suggesting resolutions. Dismissal or transfer of the case requires a majority vote of the justices. Unlike the United States Supreme Court or the federal courts of appeals the Supreme Court of Georgia, each case is assigned shortly after docketing to a justice, generally to write the opinion. In the context of not opinion generating categories (petitions for Certiorari, Applications for Interlocutory or discretionary appeal, for example) the signed justice is to shepherd the case through the process and make a recommendation for an outcome. The assignment to a justices random. Each case is put on a wheel that is, a computer program that randomly and equally distributes cases to each of the seven justices. Importantly, there are different wheels for the differences categories listed above. That way, each justice receives approximately the same number of cases in each category as every other justice. The use of multiple wheels prevents fortuity from, for example, burdening one justice with a greater number of death penalty direct appeals than others, while another justice might get a disproportionate share of request for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal. The use of separate wheels for the different categories does much to equalize workloads between the justices.